• Facts about your teeth

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    DR. JOSEPH D. LIM

    DR. JOSEPH D. LIM

    Advances in dentistry have made it easier to care for one’s teeth. With a plethora of products in the market today backed by good dental services and conscientious oral hygiene, there should be no reason for people to suffer from tooth decay or lose teeth.

    Ironically, despite the presence of readily available information about the prevention and treatment of dental disease, a lot of myths and misconceptions remain. As a public service to readers, here are some of the more common myths below followed by the surprising truth about these long-cherished beliefs:

    Healthy teeth are white. False. Although TV commercials may make you believe so, the truth is only mannequins have white teeth. In reality, the natural color of teeth is yellowish, ranging from gray-yellow to light reddish-yellow. This is true for all races.

    Apples and other crunchy foods are good for teeth. False. Apples and other crunchy foods are mistakenly referred to as “detergent foods” or “nature’s toothbrush” since they supposedly scrub away food particles and help clean teeth.

    While chomping on an apple is definitely healthier for your teeth than eating sticky sweets, it is no substitute for regular flossing and brushing. Studies have shown that the “exercise” provided by chewing on coarse foods like apples is not enough to clean critical areas of the teeth where decay may begin.

    Some people have soft teeth, making them susceptible to cavities. False. Tooth decay or caries is caused by a variety of factors such as bacteria, acids, dental plaque, food residue, thick, heavy saliva, and on many occasions, poor oral hygiene.

    While some mouths are more prone to decay than others owing to these factors, it is wrong to say that decay-prone individuals have “soft teeth.” The truth is all teeth are very hard. Tooth enamel is harder than bone, gold and porcelain.

    While good dental health is easy to achieve, many people don’t brush or floss properly and good dental services are not within the reach of many Filipinos. This makes them susceptible to tooth decay or caries and gum disease.

    To avoid this problem, make it a habit to brush your teeth at least two times a day, preferably after meals. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t forget to brush your tongue too. After that, gargle with a good mouthwash and make it a point to visit your dentist at least twice a year.

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    Dr. Joseph D. Lim is the dean of the National University College of Dentistry, president & CEO of Dr. Smile Dental Care & Laser Center and honorary fellow of the Asian Oral Implant Academy and the Japan College of Oral Implantologists. For questions on dental health, e-mail jdlim2008@gmail.com or text 0917-8591515.

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